The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, to use a cursed term, is one of the very, very, very few rock operas to work entirely. Gabriel was no small part of that success. The first album, the first of a string of discs to be called Peter Gabriel with no sequencing qualifying the release title, is a masterpiece, a joyous and contagious bringing together of theatrical art rock, guitar chord burnishing, art-song, odd tales from Dark Forests--something very British, very Lewis Carroll, very C.S. Lewis. The melodies and the hooks get you and keep in their hold--"Here Comes the Flood", "Salisbury Hill", "Moribund the Bergermeister" morph, ascend and descend in pitch, mood, and modulation that your mind is pretty reeling with hooky riffs, phrases and the quotable yet enigmatic bits of lyric that is crazy making on sleepless nights, so much so that you feel compelled to play the disc again and yet again. Such was my case, sometimes thinking that I was delving into some library of forbidden journals, esoteric poetry or the keys to all metaphors that would, with close reading, unlock the qualities of the universe even the bravest poets trembled before.
Peter Gabriel's has one of those voices that puts its power and range int the service of his muse's highest standards. He is less a vocal personality that a set of personas that makes this album a joy to ponder, wonder about, scratch your head over while your ears behold some marvelous art rock that lifts the spirits to try harder and to feel deeper, more profoundly.